Feds hold funding on Prince Rupert container terminal project

by Canadian Shipper

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C.- Ottawa may not fund $40-million towards a proposed container terminal at Prince Rupert that was supposed to help reduce congestion at West Coast ports including Vancouver, according to port officials.

According to a Financial Post report, Don Krusel, chief executive of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said the federal government may be unable to support his project because of impediments in the Canada Marine Act that restrict government grants to port authorities.
Prince Rupert, on British Columbia’s remote northern coast, wants to build a $530-million facility with a capacity of about 1.5 million containers a year when the second phase is completed in 2009.

The first phase is expected to cost about $180-million and most of the financing is in place, including $60-million from Maher Terminals Inc., the terminal operator, and $15-million from Canadian National Railway Co., which owns the rail link to the port.

But without additional government funding, the project has stalled.

The British Columbia government, meanwhile, has signed up to contribute $17-million to the project, and Krusel has asked the province to come to the rescue with a total commitment of $30 million if the feds cannot contribute. Krusel would then make up the rest of the funding through bank loans, he told FP.

The province confirmed it is in discussions about increasing its commitment, said the FP report.

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